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Maneesh Sharma Interview #Fan #Pandolin #QnA

“Entering Mannat to meet Shah Rukh Khan was my Fan moment”

Maneesh Sharma is one of the most sought-after young filmmakers in India. He started his career with Band Baaja Baaraat and swept all the Best Debut Director awards for the film throughout the next year. From there, Maneesh has grown from strength to strength as a director, and then, as a producer for Yash Raj Films, with his much acclaimed first film, Dum Laga ke Haisha, winning the National Award. His passion project Fan has been in the making for about 10 years now. From its origins to the final production, this has been a ride for the filmmaker and fans alike. In an exclusive and in-depth chat with guest writer, Nikhil Taneja, Maneesh Sharma opens up about the film, its genesis and his long association with YRF.

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Pandolin.com. An edited version of the piece can be found here: https://goo.gl/EEC8Ru


You wanted Fan to be your first film, isn’t it? I find it interesting that although your eventual goal was to make a thriller-drama of this scale, why did you only make comedy-dramas before this? Why did you not gravitate towards any thriller in your career so far?
It was obviously unplanned because I was very driven to make Fan as my first film and having said that, I also wanted to make my first film with Shah Rukh Khan. When I was coming to Bombay, I told my friends in Delhi that there would definitely be a day when there will be a film called Fan and it will say “Starring Shah Rukh Khan, produced by Aditya Chopra and directed by Maneesh Sharma”. Ye toh mujhe karna tha. Adi (Aditya Chopra) was always encouraging, but he would always tell me that you must develop it (the film’s idea). Therefore, it came with a suffix that it cannot be your first film.

In the time I was trying to develop the idea, Fanaa (*his first film as an AD for YRF*) released. Then Adi told me that he is planning a Madhuri Dixit comeback film. When I heard ‘Madhuri Dixit film’, there was no need to talk any further (smiles). So I put Fan on hold and worked on Aaja Nachle. When I got back to Fan after that released, Adi again called me and said that this time, he was making a film with Shah Rukh and wanted me to work on that (chuckles). I thought, “Obviously. If Shah Rukh and Adi are doing it, then I am doing it!” Rab Ne… (Rab Ne Bana di Jodi) happened and I reiterated ne last time that I wanted to make Fan. But Adi told me that since the film is a very ambitious one, not just financially, but creatively, he asked me to first make a film where I didn’t have to break mountains so I could hone my craft. Since I had kept at it for 5-6 years, I got dejected that I won’t ever be able to make this one.

Band Baaja Baaraat (BBB) came out of that dejection. The story of Band Baaja… happened, Adi liked it and agreed to produce it. I must say that it was a very honest film because it was my first film and it came from an organic space. We just made what we wanted to make. Thankfully Band Baaja… put me in a place that Adi could talk to him about the film. By then I also knew SRK because of Rab Ne…. And it was also a sheer coincidence that I received my best debut director award from SRK himself on my birthday (smiles). We kept talking about the film and had some equation by then. Before BBB released, Adi and I had discussed that in terms of development and writing, Habib Faisal would be the writer. Since it would take time, I did Ladies vs Ricky Bahl as its script was ready.

When Adi planned Jab Tak Hai Jaan with SRK, he also told him that there was an idea for a film by me. SRK liked it and he told Adi that he wanted to do both! So it was decided that he would do Fan after Jab Tak… so Habib would also be able to write properly after Ishaqzaade. Meanwhile, Shuddh Desi Romance happened (laughs).

People keep talking about how I work within the same milieu but it was not at all planned! I only take ownership of Band Baaja Baaraat. That came from me, I liked it and thought that it would be a new voice. Ladies vs Ricky Bahl and Shuddh Desi… both came as bound scripts to me. When people say that my command on Delhi is very good, I feel like, ‘What are you talking about?’ Shuddh Desi Romance is set in Rajasthan (laughs). And Ladies vs Ricky Bahl too had barely 10 minutes of Delhi. Even in Fan, a quarter of the film is in Delhi but this association has got too glorified, that I am good with that milieu. Another thing that is said is that all my films are set in the middle class, which is another unplanned thing.

Your question is right to an extent – if I was planning to make Fan then why the other kind of films? When I was in film school, it was on my bucket list that I wanted to direct a Jaideep Sahni film and it happened. l liked the script and also thought that the film had great attitude in the writing. Another thing is that directorially, Shuddh Desi… was a very tough film. It is not that I am always looking for a larger scale in terms of money, VFX, etc. It may very well happen that the next film that I end up doing might be a 3 crore film with a newcomer. I think your association with the film/script at that point in your life is very important because you are charged about different things in different phases of your life.

For the same reason, I admire Yash Chopra as a director in terms of his body of work and I find it weird that this thing about him being the King of just ‘romance’ is talked over and over again. He made movies like Deewar, Kala Patthar, Mashaal, Dhool Ka Phool and Satyakam. Whatever he did, he did it well, irrespective of genre. Therefore it is beyond me to classify him into one slot. I think it will take at least 10 films for me to achieve a prolificacy. It is not that the next film that I do has to be a comedy. I think there is honesty in being unplanned, and I hope that I will be able to retain it. Success and failure will come and go and I know that I will make both good and bad films.

For example, I did get some flak for Ladies vs Ricky Bahl and I am not being defensive here but no one tells that it is a shit film. It was ‘okay’. And I think people were reacting to the monkey on its back with respect to Band Baja Baaraat. But I was not trying to outdo or match what I did with Band Baja Baraat. I was excited to make an Indian chick flick. I was not planning a bigger, better film after a successful film and I don’t want to do that even after Fan now (smiles).

Did a Shah Rukh Khan film for YRF outside of Yash Chopra and Aditya Chopra’s direction feel like a daunting task? Being from the same college as Shah Rukh Khan (Hanraj College, Delhi) and your associations with him from assisting days help during the shoot or did you have to figure how to direct him from day one onwards?
The thing, is arriving at Fan has been a very long journey, vis-à-vis Shah Rukh Khan. I’ll tell you a little story. It was in 2004 and I was about to graduate from my film school. I wanted to meet Shah Rukh Khan and pitch him an idea that I want to make a film with him and to ask him how to go about it. One night I was partying really hard during my college days at Cal Arts, LA, and it was 1:30 am that I called his spot boy, Subhash Da, and told him that my name is Maneesh and I am graduating from film school and I have a script for Shah Rukh Khan (chuckles). He said to call him back in 10 minutes. I thought he was just brushing me off but I did call back after 15 minutes and he said wait for a minute and then from the other side, Shah Rukh Khan’s voice comes on, ‘Hello?’ I was standing on a LA street and wondering whether this was real (smiles).

So I immediately became formal and started saying, ‘Mr. Khan’ and being courteous.  I told him I wanted to pitch him a film. So he gave me his manager’s number and repeated the number too. I said I’ll be in India in June/July and asked when will be a good time to meet him. He said he was preparing for a show, ‘Temptations’ and was very focused on it but we’ll figure it out. I thought that I spoke to Shah Rukh, so now I am definitely making this film, it is done (chuckles).

When I came back to India from college, I tried contacting his team but there no response. So I went to Bombay and crashed at a friend’s place. I dropped him a long message saying that ‘You asked me to come here and because of that I am here and now you are not responding at all’. A couple of hours later I got his message that I am shooting and at 6:30, come to my place, the address is ‘Mannat, Band Stand, Bandra’. I thought, ‘Really?!’

So, I landed there. Entering Mannat to meet Shah Rukh Khan was my first ‘fan’ moment. I went to the guard and I said that I am here to meet Shah Rukh. He said that he is not there. I thought that this is a standard response so I said to him that I had received a message from him but the guard said that he really is not there. Fifteen minutes later SRK messaged me that he is running late and will be there in 20 minutes and will inform at the gate and I can come in after that. So when his car came, a whole horde of fans ran in to have a look. These are all were very strong images and the idea seeded there and then for the film.

When the Mannat gate opened, I felt like I was walking in 48 fps (laughs). I met Subhash Dada, put a name to the face. I was sitting in what used to be his meeting room then. I just looked around the room and it looked astonishing – the great sea view, there were different VHS tapes that were kept there, even Fauji’s, there was a jukebox.

When Shah Rukh Khan came in, I thought, ‘Oh, that’s how he looks! (smiles). We had an hour long chat. He is, of course, a very gracious person and if you meet him in person for a chat, he will own you. He had a very professional manner. We talked about Delhi and Barry John, our common alma matter, and we discussed a lot of things. He liked the idea and then after talking about a lot of things I left. I had no idea how this process works. I mean to get his time like that, I don’t know I can pull it off even no!? After that I met other people too but I realized that if I have to work in the industry, first I need to know how it works. So I decided that I will start but I will only work at Yash Raj films. Then, somehow, Fanaa happened… and you know the rest of the story.

But by the time Fan happened we had also completed a sort of journey ourselves through Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, on which I was an associate director. So by then, it was not directing a superstar, it was more like a collaboration, like working with an immensely talented person. We just wanted to make the best film possible.

You seem to have a certain instinct about the films you choose to make, both as a director and producer. It seems to me that you have an innate understanding of young people of India. While ‘Bollywood’s’ idea of ‘the youth’ is young people from Bombay, you make stories from all over India, be it Delhi, Rajasthan, Haridwar or even your upcoming films as a producer which are set in different cities. Is this something that you look for in a script? Is there something in particular that you are assessing, for that matter, whenever you read a script?
No, I don’t, actually. As a script, BBB came from me because of my understanding of a particular subculture. From the people and places I knew and the spaces I understood. It may sound strange but BBB came from an in-flight magazine (smiles). I was in a flight and reading this article about six case studies about these new age entrepreneurs. In some cases, these people were just packaging your gifts well, that’s all. And that kick-started the thought that it is somewhere talking about the middle class and lower middle class’ aspiration. It was very exciting to see self-employed people trying to start a business and make money. So the idea started there; that if there were two youngsters from this milieu who have no resources but they have a vision then how would they go about it. I don’t think of it as a love story but as a relationship story between these two.

Whether it was a rom-com or a ‘youngsters’ story or even a love story, whatever audiences must have thought of it, it probably was about the conflict of their aspirations to do bigger weddings. I think two things happen: I have more affinity towards, and understanding of, this kind of material. And the second thing I get excited about is when something has not been done so far. I cannot say if something is unique in the preparation phase but if something is fresh and exciting, I back it up and enjoy the process of seeing it through. Even for Shuddh Desi, the thing that excited me was that we were talking about three young people in a very regular situation which society considers very irregular because ‘live-in’, as a situation for our audience is still something that happens only in New York or Europe or Australia or may be in South Bombay. That excited me so I guess because I come from the same environment I get hooked to it.

When Dum Laga Ke Haisha’s script came, I was busy with Fan’s pre-production. At that stage I was developing a script with Sharat (Katariya). Then one day, he wanted to narrate an idea to me for feedback. It was a script for him to direct. I told Adi about it and explained to him why I felt about the characters and space, etc. He said that if you are so excited about it then why don’t you produce it? Now I knew he was looking for some creative producers and I probably was on his mind on that list, but he said that I really have to believe that I can do it. I was happy to do it because I thought that at least the movie will get made that way. I did not even do it for Sharat, I just did it for what he had written. My only contribution after reading the draft was asking Sharat, ‘Why don’t we set it in 1994?’ Prem liked audio cassette but the film was written contemporarily. But it gave me a cue of why don’t we take it to the time the transition happened to CDs. This also gave some context to some of the regressive character behavior. Sharat also got kicked about ‘90s and it became a big flavor. It wasn’t as if I was tempering with his material but it was just an idea. That’s the only way you go for it. You just feel that this feels right and hope that others also find it right later on. This is the only thing that I want to protect about myself.

Your career and filmography is still young but I’m curious to know if you ever think in terms of what your legacy when you select a script to direct or produce. Do you think in terms of, say, at the end of your career, people should think about Maneesh Sharma in this particular way?
It’s a very interesting question. Do I think about legacy in a certain way? Yes. Say after my ten films, you might hate them or dislike them but when you discuss them there will be a certain intention. You will find that there is something worth deconstructing. But if you think that I plan my movies to be in a certain order, or plan some kinds of projects at certain points in my career, then it is not so. At least so far it hasn’t been so and hopefully it won’t be so in future too. I don’t belong to that school of thought.

When I am backing a script in any capacity, my only criteria is that if I like it, I will do it. Let me tell you how Shuddh Desi happened. I was suffering from jaundice in the middle of Ladies vs Ricky Bahl’s shoot. There was a lot of pressure of time because some 20-25 days of shoot was left, three songs were to be done. One day Adi said that you are just lying down, read a script and give me feedback. Adi was not looking for me to direct it. Adi and Jaideep were discussing it and they thought that let’s also ask Maneesh to read it since he is lying down idly anyway (chuckles).

In that state I read Shuddh Desi romance and I remember I read 65% of it and I was feeling drowsy only because of my physical state but I was really enjoying the script. I put an alarm that I will wake up in 45 minutes to read the rest and I did that. I loved that script. It was a slightly different draft, though, principally, it was the same film. I called Adi in the morning and said it is terrific so he called me to the office.. he wanted to meet me and Jaideep together. I was very excited about the script and told them whatever I felt about it. It was a week or so later that I asked Adi, ‘By the way, who is making that film?’ He said that he hadn’t attached any director yet, so I said, ‘Then I am making that film’ (chuckles). He was planning something else for me and I said, ‘Don’t worry about that’ so this happened.

I must tell you another thing that since the reception of Ladies vs Ricky Bahl was different, everyone kept saying that I was making a ‘comeback’ film. They wanted me to do a ‘safe’ film. Now I did not know how it was an ‘unsafe’ film, I was not thinking like that at all. You have to stick with your instincts and thankfully, it worked well. It was actually my most successful film on box office despite what everyone was thinking about it (smiles).

Earlier, of course, since you were in the middle of Fan, you probably didn’t have the mind space to think about another film for you to direct. But when you got closer to Fan releasing, and you liked a script that came to you, how did you choose between producing it and directing it yourself? And how will you go about it in the future?
If I read a script and I really like it, I get very excited about it. Now whether I am excited about it in the way that I want to direct it or I just want to just creative produce it, that answer does come easily. It is not that if I am directing a film then it is more mine, I just have to think about the number of hours given to this film on a day-to-day basis for several years. Otherwise, for me, it is always the case that if it is a good project then it should be made, and it does not matter in what capacity I am attached to it.

Do you discuss with Aditya Chopra about the kind of projects that you’ll produce and the ones that you’ll direct? Has there been any particular idea for how your films as a producer will be similar or different from everything else by the banner?
Not at all, yaar. It’s all about instinct. Between Adi and me, there has been no such discussion that I will do something in one capacity or another. In fact, one thing that’s very heartening is that Adi said, ‘There might be a scenario that I might not like a script that you like but I’ll still want you to make that film, otherwise it defeats the purpose of having you as a producer. If you are fully convinced, then make it, otherwise the larger purpose of finding new voices and creating new content gets defeated.’ I think I have quite a free room in the kind of projects that I want to do. I really have to believe in a project to do it and so far it has not happened where I had to really sell him an idea. It will happen someday where he will not be convinced and I’ll have to really try to convince him (smiles) but so far it hasn’t happened.

So what are the aspects in which your thought process is similar to that of Aditya Chopra’s? How are you guys similar as producers?
I think Adi and I have a really good confluence. It is a nice give-and-take relationship. See, even if you start with the fact that he is Yash Chopra’s son and has grown up in this industry, the fact is that he has made a mark with his first film in a way that no one else has done. His understanding of the industry and Hindi films is of a certain ‘darja’ (level). I am a Delhi boy who wanted to make a film. Our one commonality is that we both are film buffs; we like films in general. There is lot of respect for each other in the manner that I view certain portion of film in one way and he in another way. Our film association has almost been five to five-and-a-half films old. If you keep that aside and we are talking about any X film, then there is a commonality and a passion for films, yet worldview wise and ideology wise, we do not think in the same way, but in a constructive manner. Adi backs films like Band Baja or Shuddh Desi Romance because he has an acumen, and he knows that cinema has to change and new voices have to come in.

You have also assisted him when he directed Rab Ne Bana di Jodi, what are the things you picked up from him as a director?
What I realize now fully and I realized it back then too is that we are from very different schools. I am a very unstructured director. I never give a shot breakdown to my ADs. We always start from a blank slate on the shoot’s morning. It works for me and I find a certain energy in that. Adi is the complete opposite. He is a writer-director, I am not, though I may have given the story for two of my films. I have realized one thing that if you read Adi’s script on paper, you feel like it has been directed over there itself. It has so much clarity for everyone. Whoever reads it, there are no different interpretations, whether it is an actor or a production designer or a DP. He directs it first on paper and then it is just about logistics of taking a shot. That is a big learning. Another thing is collaborating with music directors, which was completely alien into me. He was heavily involved in the music of both Fanaa and Aaja Nachle, both films where he wasn’t the director. This is something that I have learned from him.

Finally, a question out of curiosity. Will we ever see you directing or producing something on digital?
Yes, why not? I don’t feel there is a demarcation between the formats. I like storytelling and whatever it comes on is fine. During my film school, I had worked on all kind of formats so my association is in fact stronger with these formats.

 

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Note: This interview first appeared on Pandolin.com in April 2016.
Link: http://pandolin.com/entering-mannat-to-meet-shah-rukh-khan-was-my-fan-moment/
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THE SRK INTERVIEW #OPENMAGAZINE #SRK #QNA

Shah Rukh Khan: ‘I Give You the Right Not to Judge People’

Shah Rukh Khan dissects fame and success and confesses that many chapters of his life remain closed to all

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Open Magazine. An edited version of the piece can be found here: https://goo.gl/NfjTiS

It’s 12.45 am, and this is the last of 13 print interviews that Shah Rukh Khan has committed to, and done, through the day, besides radio and internet interviews, over a period of 10 continuous hours. He’s visibly drained when he greets you, with a weary smile, but as soon as the recorder is turned on, the energy is back again, and it’s manic. A fifteen minute interview stretches to an hour, and that’s what Shah Rukh Khan is: a man who may get tired of being a superstar at times, but would never take it for granted.

It is the week of release of perhaps his riskiest movie in years, Fan, where he plays both a superstar, Aryan Khanna, and his biggest fan, Gaurav, a aged-down, shorter, VFX version of himself. To the audiences, Aryan may very well be Shah Rukh Khan himself, what with the name being the same as Khan’s son’s name, and with the trailers using footage of ‘SRK’ mania, but they are likely to, somewhere, identify with Gaurav, who is the reason for, and thrives on, the same mania. As Khan faces off against himself in the movie that seems to be a return to his thriller roots, he speaks about fame, stardom, privacy, fans… and being Shah Rukh Khan.

Everyone’s more interested in the ‘fan’, Gaurav, in your movie, Fan but I’m more curious about Aryan Khanna. Aryan seems like a manifestation of Shah Rukh Khan. Is it somewhere what you see yourself as, or what you think fans see you as?
No… in fact, it’s a completely written character. And that’s why I had more difficulty playing Aryan Khanna than Gaurav. When you are making a film about a superstar, so that you don’t have to establish the stardom, you could maybe go with Mr. Bachchan (Amitabh Bachchan), Salman (Khan), Aamir (Khan) but the story was of a Delhi boy, so it fit well with me. We’ve also shown the star in his personal space outside of the flamboyance and Bollywood shoots, so it was important he be a star without us having to prove that.

But the character is very different. It would be unfair of Adi (Aditya Chopra) and Maneesh (Sharma) to ask me to play me but yes, the only manifestation has been using my 25 years of archival footage. You have me getting an award from Rekhaji (smiles) and that you may not have gotten from a newer actor. Yes, a lot of people will say, ‘Shah Rukh aisa hai kya? Yeh aisa hai yaar! (Is Shah Rukh like this? Oh! He’s like this!)’ But the honest truth is I’m not like him at all. He’s more real, more grounded, more practical, less mad and probably less compassionate in his dealings than me. He’s scarily real, and I’m not like that at all.

Have you ever given a thought to what the world sees Shah Rukh Khan as? What do you think your perception is to the regular guy on the street?
No… no. But I do get a feedback, on Twitter. Sometimes, they like me, sometimes they think I’ve become anti-national or I’m a marketer or I’ve sold out or that I’m fantastic or romantic. See, the beauty of being a star or being liked is, the more different perceptions people have of you, the more different people like you for different things. I may be all of them, I may be none of them. But there’s no way I can sit down and get disturbed by them.

Suppose you say, Shah Rukh I want you to do a Chak De (India) kind of a film; achchi acting karega, mera bada dil khush hoga (you’ll act well, my heart will be filled with joy). But that’s your perception. Mujhe nahin lagta maine baaki picture mein gandi acting ki hai (I don’t think I’ve acted badly in other movies). But I can’t explain that to you because you don’t know the craft or why an actor breathes, lives and does what he or she does. And I can’t explain myself to everyone else too.

And now, with social media, you’re perceived differently depending on the day. On the day of a hit film, you’re perceived as something, on the day your team has lost a match, you are perceived as something else. As a matter of fact, it’s maddening. If you are not able to concentrate and just know yourself fully, and say no, ‘Main inmein se kuch bhi nahin hoon, main yeh hoon (I’m none of these, I’m this)’.  And if I tell you that part of me, it’ll be very boring (chuckles). So I let people think who they think I am.

I am an image. Shah Rukh Khan is an image… and I’m just an employee of that image. Now whatever that image, some girl see pink, some boys see black, some women see beautiful, some people think overrated, it’s an image. None of it is me. It’s like, you know, when you make a shadow with your fingers and you make a dog, there is no dog, it’s actually made out of fingers. I can’t show you the fingers, because the magic goes. So you think it’s a dog or a butterfly, whatever you like. I can’t break your myth that I’m working for as Shah Rukh Khan and I can’t believe in it myself. Because the day I do, I’ll be torn apart. I won’t know what happened!

 

In 2009, you played a superstar in Billu, who stayed true to his roots and was accepting of all love. In 2016, in Fan, you again play a superstar who has much to like, but one who draws a strict boundary between his reel and real life. Is this a reflection of your process as well? Do you now have try and safeguard how much of Shah Rukh Khan is accessible?
See, but I’m not even making myself accessible. I don’t even know what happens. It’s the reality we live now and it is how it’s going to be. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t change my way of being, according to the changes of the platforms of media, or according to how people start reacting to things. I’m the same person, living in the same place. I will still go for my match and cheer for my team, I’ll still take my child in my arms and walk down to the airport, I’ll still try to do the best I can in a film.

(Pause) But, to be very honest, very few people know the real me. I’ve been an open book, but the chapters I’ve opened are the chapters I’ve opened and nobody knows the chapters I haven’t opened. I’ve written a book about my life and even that book doesn’t contain all of it. I sit down to write it and I say, ‘No, yaar’. My privacy is not the space I allow people to get into physically or by a photograph or a selfie or by Facebook and Twitter. My space, which I don’t allow anyone into, is my emotions.

You know, I’m an extremely emotional person and I’m still really detached, and if I’m able to survive this dichotomy of stardom and normalcy that I live in, that’s a pre-requisite. I need to have my space. I know, what I do in my personal life and what I actually feel and think is so far removed from what people think I am, and what I could be, that it’s very strange, and very maddening.

But I’m only myself when I’m in my bedroom with my kids, yaar (smiles). With my black shorts and my hair standing out, and just being. Because my kids know me as a father and as a friend. They don’t want to know me as a star. And I don’t want to tell them what a star I am. They have respect for what I’ve done, they’ve immense amount of pride for who I am, but none of it enters my bedroom. We never talk about Shah Rukh Khan in third person, in fact, we make fun of him in third person (chuckles), sometimes, as much as others do.

You’ve always been someone who’s enjoyed his celebrity and yet, had respect for it. But in the age of social media, where fame is under such intense scrutiny, do you feel differently about it? Is fame more difficult to enjoy now?
No, yaar, it’s like… if you come on a weekend and stand outside my house, the people there are mostly loving. But there are people who’ve got stuck in the crowd and traffic, who are thinking, ‘What the fuck? I don’t want to be stuck in the traffic! Who the hell is he?’ knowing fully well who the hell I am. There are also some who are irritated, thinking, ‘Why does he have these people outside his house and I don’t?’ and then, there are some neighbours who are genuinely affected because they want to sleep and a thousand people are screaming. But 80% of the people are there for the love of it. So when I go out and wave, I respect everyone but I hear only the 80%, who’ve come out of love. I share the love with them. The same love also goes out to the 20%, who can take it or leave it. Social media is exactly like that.  Most of them have followed me out of love. And I’m not worried about the X, Y or Z voice of the 20%.

You know, I really enjoy my stardom, I love it and have always loved it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, unabashedly, I came here thinking that when I am a star or when I’m good enough, I want people to love me, to hug me, to cry for me, to shout for me, to die for me. I want people to abuse me, to jump at me, to deride me too. I want people, it’s as simple as that (smiles). And people comprises of all kinds so I can’t disrespect that. Yes, I can get irritated at times, it’s my human right. I can get pissed off, and get really, really angry at trolling, or when some say I am anti-national or some shit. But, having said all that, it’s the same crowd outside my house – some of them I understand don’t want to be here, but they’re here (chuckles).

I don’t have issues of privacy, because I know what’s private is private. You can’t take that out of me because I don’t want to give it. I’m an actor, I can act like anything.

The reason I asked the last question was that today, the guy who makes a film round the year is just as big a star as the guy who uploads a five minute video on YouTube. How seriously do you take your stardom in such a time? Do you ever worry about things like staying relevant or protecting the fame?
You can’t make stardom, you can’t hold stardom, and most of all, you can’t protect stardom. Stardom is an entity by itself. It’s uncontrollable, intangible, unquantifiable. It’s not something you can just achieve and just because you have it, don’t please think you can control it. I’m not ready for it to fall or drop but there’s no reason for to try and protect it. Because you have to realise that stardom did not happen because of you.

Having said that, (pause), the model has changed. This is my understanding, I am completely off the cuff here. There was a vertical model in the world: the haves and the have-nots. The world does not have have-nots anymore… it’s all equal. We’re a horizontal world now. So, when I came into the film industry, a lot of actors told me, ‘Tu enigmatic nahin hai yaar, tu ads karta hai (You are not enigmatic, you do ads)’. I’m not Greta Grabo. She’s wonderful, I love her – but the times of Greta Garbo are gone. There are 1.2 billion people now. My biggest hit, the biggest hit in the country has been seen by only 11 crore people, 110 crore people haven’t seen it, on TV, in theaters, on every media combined. So there’s nothing like too much of me ,yaar. There’s nothing like too much love either; love is love. So there’s nothing like, ‘Arre yaar yeh bahut baari aa raha hai ghar mein, mujhe nahin pyaar karna (Oh! He’s coming to our house too many times, I don’t want to give so much love).’ You can’t overexpress yourself, you can’t over-spread yourself in today’s world.

There’s no hierarchy of stardom now, there’s no hierarchy in this country, or in the world. Each one of us is equal. It’s the reality now… it’s the truth. I can’t look down upon you. There was a time that if you wanted a star’s interview, only the top journalist of that country’s top magazine got the interview through some source of friendship of the manager that you had. Today, each of us comes out and talks to everyone. Not because you were less then, because there is no hierarchy, everybody is equal, yaar.

But the trick is, how can we be a little more equal than equal, that’s all. And for that, you’ve got to stick to the clichés – the honest basic truths. Be upfront, work hard, play harder, party hardest and love your family. That’s what I do. You have a dream? Go for it. Buy a house. Buy yourself two cars and waste one. Marry the girl that you love. There’s nothing wrong in wants or desire. That’s what we were made for. Otherwise we’d be in heaven, desiring nothing… everything is there in heaven. But at the end of it all, keep some modicum of honesty to it. Don’t have it without hard work, don’t cheat, don’t lie, don’t thieve, don’t try to make a fast buck, don’t shirk away from saying and believing the right thing, it’s as basic as that. Your father would have said this to you too.

When I wake up in the morning and sit down with my kids, I need to be able to look them in the eye and say, ‘There is no discrepancy in what I teach you about goodness’. Try and be honest – that’s the only thing I want to protect.

Fan comes at a very interesting point of your career. Shah Rukh Khan started out as a risk-taker, someone who’d do a Darr or a Baazigar, not worried about how he’d be perceived. Somewhere in the middle, a SRK film became safe, and comfortable. You’d go to watch your film so you know it’s okay. But with Fan and Raees, for example, you don’t know if it’ll be okay, and that’s exciting. What’s brought about the change?
Even if you are extremely disturbed after watching Raees and Fan, let me assure you everything is okay (smiles). If you cry after watching a film, it’s okay. If the family in the film breaks up, it’s okay. If the hero falls in love and doesn’t get the girl, it’s okay. At the end of it all, life is going to be okay. You’ll never find a guy like most of the characters I’ve played in my films, in the real world. But when you play them, you don’t have to judge them, that’s all. I mean, look at Rahul from Darr, he’s a psychopath and stalker. Or Devdas, who is an alcoholic fool. You won’t do it, I won’t do it, but you need to just tell be able to tell the story of someone like that, and still let it be okay.

You know what my movies give you? The lack of judgment. I give you the right not to judge people. When we read the third page of the newspaper and see a shoddy headline screaming out, we judge instantly. ‘Wo ganda hai, wo acchcha hai, wo politician hai toh harami, yeh hero badmaash hai, are yeh uske saath soyi, yeh ghatiya hai, yeh cheap hai (He’s bad, he’s good, he’s a politician so is an asshole, this hero is a hooligan, if she slept with someone, she’s cheap)’. Arre? You think it’s not right, so don’t do it. But let them do it, don’t judge them. So the whole idea I give in films is that it’s okay. It’s alright if somebody’s done it, you should accept that.

We are getting so judgmental in today’s time and age, that you are under the pressure to say the right thing about the right thing. Sometimes, people say, why aren’t you mentioning that tragedy on Twitter? Arre, come on, does that make me a lesser person, because I didn’t write about it on Twitter? Everybody tweets, ‘My heart goes out to…’, and my heart does go out, to what happened in Kolkata, for example, but I don’t need to write it and explain it to you. I don’t judge the ones who share but I believe that every feeling need not be shared. A tweet does not life make, or a character decide, you know (chuckles).

But there’s no reason why I have choose these films at the time. Fan and Raees were signed before Dilwale so there’s no concerted effort behind this. The only freedom I have is I should be able to make a choice that’ll make me happy in the morning, good, bad or ugly. It makes me happy that I’ll work with Anand (Rai) or that I’ve worked with Maneesh or Gauri (Shinde). If all these films don’t do well, maybe I’ll go back and only make romantic films again (laughs).

 

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Liked/disliked the interview? Leave your comments below!
Note: This interview first appeared in Open Magazine on April 22, 2016
Link: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/art-culture/shah-rukh-khan-i-give-you-the-right-not-to-judge-people
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015

#ICYMI:
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c

I have already made a list of the 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015, but I also wanted to put together a list of my favourite Summer Films, Hindi Films and ‘Good Films’ (Dramas/Comedies). Please note that this is a list of MY 35 Favourite Films of 2015 and if there are films missing from here, trust me, they’ve been left out on purpose (for eg. I didn’t feel too much for Piku or Spectre, etc). Anyway, here are my lists below:


THE 15 BEST HINDI FILMS

  1. TALVAR: Because Irrfan Khan and Neeraj Kabi and Gajraj Rao and Konkana Sen Sharma and Vishal Bharadwaj and Meghna Gulzar.
  2. DUM LAGAKE HAISHA: Because this could well be India’s first indie romcom by a big studio.
  3. MASAAN: Because it made me want to write: On Masaan.
  4. BABY: Because Neeraj Pandey is to thrillers what Raju Hirani is to feel good cinema. Here’s my piece on it: On Baby.
  5. DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY!: Because Dibakar Banerjee is a star and this film got the short end of the stick. My piece on it: On Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
  6. TAMASHA: Because Imtiaz Ali has the power to make you feel feelings that no other Indian director does.
  7. DIL DHADAKNE DO: Because Anil Kapoor!!
  8. TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS: Because two Kangana Ranaut is even better than one Kangana Ranaut.
  9. BOMBAY VELVET: Because it was a GOOD film and my thoughts on it are well documented: On Bombay Velvet.
  10. NH10: Because we haven’t managed to pull off a road thriller so well ever before and hats off to Anushka Sharma for debuting as a producer with this.
  11. TITLI: Because this was the most hard-hitting Indian film I’ve seen in ages.
  12. COURT: Because it captured class divide and ‘India’ of the towns and of the shanties like very few could have.
  13. PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA: Because let’s admit it, even with its misogyny, it was freaking hilarious.
  14. ANGRY INDIAN GODESSES: Because in spite of the filmy ending, this is a Dil Chahta Hai for women.
  15. BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN: Because Salman Khan did a good film and I still can’t believe it.


THE 10 BEST SUMMER FILMS

  1. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION: Because what a perfect, perfect screenplay and what a perfect, perfect Tom Cruise.
  2. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD: Because this was not really a Mad Max film and we know it – it was a Furiosa film and that’s why we love it.
  3. JURASSIC WORLD: Because this was a throwback to the good ol’ family blockbusters of the ‘90s and Chris Pratt is the ‘hero’ we’ve been waiting for.
  4. THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.: Because Guy Ritchie makes action films like no one makes action films and Guy Ritchie is my Tarantino.
  5. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: Because it was great trip back in time but as an independent film it could have been so much more.
  6. SPY: Because who knew Jason Statham could be SO FREAKING FUNNY!
  7. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON: Because it was Joss Whedon’s last superhero film (as we know it) but otherwise it could have been so much more.
  8. FURIOUS 7: Because they showed ALL THEIR ACTION PIECES in trailers and there was nothing left to watch in the film.
  9. PITCH PERFECT: Because Anna Kendrick is acc-awesome.
  10. THE INTERVIEW: Because it was hilarious and I don’t know why critics found it vile and unfunny – the James Franco-Kim Jong Un friendship scenes were ROFL!


THE 10 BEST DRAMAS/COMEDIES

  1. BIRDMAN: Because OH MY GOD, what a film.
  2. STEVE JOBS: Because the greatest writer of the 21st century, Aaron Sorkin, wrote a film about the greatest mind of the 21st century, Steve Jobs, and it was perfect.
  3. WHIPLASH: Because this movie *is* my tempo.
  4. CREED: Because THIS is how you do a reboot, and hell, Ryan Coogler, you are a master of the art of screenwriting and storytelling – what a perfect film this was.
  5. THE INTERN: Because who knew a Robert DeNiro-Anne Hathaway film could be the feel good film of the year and charm the socks off you?
  6. TRAINWRECK: Because Amy Schumer’s hilarious big screen writing-acting debut has redefined the raunchy female comedy.
  7. THE MARTIAN: Because this was Ridley Scott’s happiest film ever and if getting back Matt Damon is such a fun time, he should get in these situations more!
  8. INSIDE OUT: Because no Hollywood film gave you as many feel as this one.
  9. SICARIO: Because Dennis Villeneuve can do no wrong and looks like even Emily Blunt can’t.
  10. TOMORROWLAND: Because it was an original film that had the right intentions even if it failed a bit in putting them across.

#ICYMI:
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c


Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,
on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’ve left out some fantastic films? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

The 100 Most Awaited 2016 Movies

#ICYMI:
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/Z796RR
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Huffington Post. An edited version of the piece can be found here: https://goo.gl/04ZsS6
2016 is going to be an unbelievable year at the movies. There’s SO MUCH HAPPENING! DC, Marvel, Scorsese, Linklater, Kashyap, Bharadwaj and SO MUCH MORE. I have put together a list of MY most awaited 100 films below. There are movies I have left out on purpose because I may not be excited about them and movies that I have put in because I may be more excited about them than others. So having given the disclaimer that this is a list of films ‘I’ am most excited about, check out my 100 below:

THE 25 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD FILMS

  1. DEADPOOL: Because Ryan Reynolds and that trailer! Time to make the chimi-fucking-changas!
  2. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE: Because BATMAN V SUPERMAN WHAT PART OF THAT DOES NOT EXCITE YOU!
  3. EVERYBODY WANTS SOME: Because Richard Linklater is back with a ‘spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused and I WANTS SOME.
  4. FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM: Because JK Rowling! And magic! And wizardry! Accio Release Date!
  5. THE NICE GUYS: Because the guy who made Kiss Kiss Bang Bang teams up with the guy who was in LA Confidential and the guy who was in Drive and this looks like it will be one of my all time favourites.
  6. SUICIDE SQUAD: Because, to quote David Ayer, ‘Enough of Good vs Evil, it’s time for Bad vs Evil.’ Also, JOKER + HARLEY QUINN = WIN!!
  7. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: Because Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke and Peter Sarsgaard and Matt Bomer and Vince D’Onofrio in this remake!! WHYISTHISNOTMAKINGMORENEWS?!
  8. DOCTOR STRANGE: Because Benedict Cumberbatch is Doctor Strange and that’s the only reason I forgive Marvel for not casting Keanu Reeves in it.
  9. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR: Because it should have been the most exciting movie of the year but the trailer didn’t live up but I still have hopes because WARRRRRRR.
  10. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE: Because though I’m not a Bryan Singer fan, Oscar Isaac as the villain is SUCH FANTASTIC NEWS.
  11. KUNG FU PANDA 3: Because GET, SET, PO!!!
  12. BOURNE 5: Because Matt Damon is back! Paul Greengrass is back! Julia Stiles is back! I can’t stop with the exclamations!
  13. THE JUNGLE BOOK: Because even though I’m looking forward to Jungle Book: Origins more (because Andy Serkis), Bill Murray and Idris Elba on this makes it unmissable.
  14. WARCRAFT: Because though I haven’t played the game, Duncan Jones helming it makes me think that this will probably be better than anyone’s expecting this to be.
  15. THE CIRCLE: Because James Ponsoldt, an international treasure where I’m concerned, directs Tom Hanks, Emma Watson and John Boyega. How are more people not dying to see this!
  16. GAMBIT: Because Channing Tatum as a superhero is dope, yo.
  17. THE GREAT WALL: Because Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal star in a film directed by Yimou Zhang and this could totally be the event movie of the year.
  18. ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE: Because this is my favourite animated series of all time (yes, of ALL TIME).
  19. LA LA LAND: Because Whiplash director returns with a jazz musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and there is no way he could have topped himself on paper.
  20. PASSENGERS: Because America’s sweethearts Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence star so this better be the movie of the year.
  21. ZOOLANDER NO. 2: Because BLUE STEEL FACE (And that Benedict Cumberbatch cameo!).
  22. ASSASSIN’S CREED: Because Michael Fassbender stars and there is no reason greater than that.
  23. ARMS AND THE DUDES: Because Jonah Hill and Miles Teller together in a Todd Philips movie is bound to be the dude movie of the year.
  24. STAR TREK BEYOND: Because they should have ended with the last one but with Justin Lin attached, the series could Live Long and Prosper.
  25. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY: Because Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla was one of the worst blockbusters I’ve ever seen so I have no idea how this will turn out.


THE 15 MOST ANTICIPATED INDIAN FILMS

(NOTE: The most anticipated Indian film for me would be BANK CHOR since that’s the first film I’ve worked on as a Creative Producer and that releases SOON :D. The list below is movies besides Bank Chor, of course.)

  1. RANGOON: Because Vishal Bharadwaj is making a ‘Casablanca’ like love story featuring Kangana Ranaut along with Shahid ‘Kaminey’ Kapoor and Saif Ali ‘Langda Tyagi’ Khan.
  2. DANGAL: Because Aamir Khan.
  3. RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0: Because Anurag Kashyap is going back to his indie thriller roots with this one.
  4. AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL: Because Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma come together for a Karan Johar Film so this better be the romcom of the decade.
  5. FAN: Because have you seen Shah Rukh Khan’s Gaurav? I mean!!!!
  6. KAPOOR & SONS: Because Shakun Batra’s Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is one of my favourite Hindi films of the last five years and this one has Alia Bhatt so it will be a cracker.
  7. UDTA PUNJAB: Because Abhishek Chaubey has pulled in a stellar starcast in Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and KAREENA KAPOOR, set against the backdrop of the drug trade in Punjab.
  8. RAEES: Because SRK looks like a badass and him facing off against Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Farhan Akhtar is going to be a treat.
  9. KI & KA: Because the first stills look absolutely amazing and Balki looks set to charm the hell out of us.
  10. DHONI: Because Neeraj Pandey has not set a foot wrong so far and Sushant Singh Rajput is going to play Dhoni like a champ.
  11. MANMARZIYAN: Because I loved Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana and I can’t wiat to watch Ayushmann-Bhumi again on screen.
  12. MOHENJADARO: Because Ashutosh Gowarikar directs Hrithik Roshan again and hopefully this film will not be as long as the time between that age and ours.
  13. MIRZIYA: Because Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is a fantastic director and from everything I’ve read about Harshvardan Kapoor, his sensibilities seem on point (he assisted Anurag Kashyap!).
  14. DINESH VIJAN’S UNTITLED FILM: Because after Dinesh Vijan broke up with Saif Ali Khan, the first two things he produced independently (Badlapur and Finding Fanny) were better than anything else he’s done before so I give him the benefit of doubt.
  15. BAAR BAAR DEKHO: Because even though this film has Katrina Kaif and that probably means it will end up sucking, it’s an Excel film by the writer of Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara and Dil Dhadakne Do, so I have my hopes high.


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD DRAMAS

  1. SILENCE: Because Martin Scorsese directs Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson in this historical drama.
  2. THE BFG: Because Steven Spielberg is making a family film after ages and this one’s adapted from a Roald Dahl book!
  3. STORY OF YOUR LIFE: Because Denis Villeneuve (of being amazing fame) directs Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Michael Stuhlbarg in a sci fi drama about aliens landing on earth.
  4. THE FREE STATE OF JONES: Because Matthew McConaughey is starring in this civil war drama from the writer of Big and Seabiscuit.
  5. BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK: Because Ang Lee directs a script from Simon Beaufoy that stars a cast featuring Vin Diesel, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart.
  6. THE ACCOUNTANT: Because the director of Warrior directs Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick in an action thriller and that’s all we need to know.
  7. DEMOLITION: Because the ever-dependable Jake Gyllenhaal costars with the ever-dependable Naomi Watts in a drama by Jean-Marc Vallee.
  8. SULLY: Because Clint Eastwood is still going strong at 85 and this time directs an autobiographical film starring Tom Hanks about a pilot who landed a plane on water, saving lives.
  9. MONEY MONSTER: Because Jodie Foster directs, George Clooney and Julia Roberts star, and it is a political thriller.
  10. SNOWDEN: Because it is a biographical drama from the king of biographical dramas, Oliver Stone, about Edward Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED ‘SUMMER’ FILMS

  1. JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK: Because although not a summer release, Tom Cruise reunites with Edward Zwick after The Last Samurai… actually just because Tom Cruise.
  2. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Because I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment so let’s hope there’s more Cowabunga, Dude!
  3. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES: Because what a bloody insane cast with Matt Smith, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Sam Riley, and Lily James and what a crazy ass idea.
  4. THE HUNTSMAN – WINTER’S WAR: Because even though the first part sucked, this one has Emily Blunt (and Jessica Chastain!) and we all know Emily Blunt can do no wrong now.
  5. INFERNO: Because screw Dan Brown, anything Tom Hanks does is immensely watchable plus this has Irrfan Khan too.
  6. INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE: Because even though I’m sorely disappointed that this has no Will Smith, it’s got the same director and well, Jeff Goldblum again, so fingers crossed.
  7. THE LEGEND OF TARZAN: Because Margot Robbie as Jane!!!
  8. JUMANJI: Because our childhoods are back!
  9. NOW YOU SEE ME 2: Because basically they’ve got Daniel Radcliffe to star in another movie about magic and that deserves nothing but respect.
  10. BEN-HUR: Because in spite of zero buzz, Jack Huston as Ben-Hur is fascinating casting, and there’s also Morgan Freeman and Toby Kebell, so let’s hope it’s ‘epic’.


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD THRILLERS

  1. HIGH-RISE: Because Ben Wheatley directs Tom Hiddlestone and Elisabeth Moss and a fantastic concept of class war in a high rise and I simply cannot wait.
  2. JOHN WICK 2: Because come on!
  3. TRIPLE 9: Because another fabulous trailer, Lawless director John Hillcoat at its helm and a crazy ass cast in Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus and Kate Winslet!
  4. MIDNIGHT SPECIAL: Because Jeff Nichols is special and when he teams up with Michael Shannon for a scifi thriller again it will be even more special and when the cast has Adam Driver, Joel Edgerton and and Kirsten Dunst, you know this is going to be a must watch.
  5. GREEN ROOM: Because it’s from the director of Blue Ruin, it’s got enormous festive buzz and because Patrick Stewart fights off Neo Nazis!
  6. FREE FIRE: Because there will be one more Ben Wheatley crime thriller this year with another amazing cast that includes Sharlto Copey, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson and Cillian Murphy.
  7. THE WITCH: Because it’s got better reviews than any other horror film in recent history.
  8. THE PURGE 3: Because this film has been my guilty pleasure for two installments now and I can bet part three will not let me down either.
  9. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN: Because the novel’s supposed to be as good as Gone Girl and this one stars Emily Blunt (who can do no wrong) and Rebecca Forguson of MI5 so this could be gooood.
  10. THE NEON DEMON: Because Nicolas Winding Refn directs Keanu Reeves in a thriller shot at 60 fps, are you kidding me!


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD COMEDIES

  1. LIFE ON THE ROAD: Because Ricky Gervais’ David Brent is back and is on the road with a band so this will be AMAZING!!
  2. GHOSTBUSTERS: Because Paul Feig directs Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig again so this is obviously going to be a comedy classic.
  3. THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY: Because Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong play estranged brothers one of whom becomes a spy and the other remains a village idiot and then they meet again and this is just going to be hilarious amiright?
  4. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE: Because The Rock and Kevin Hart come together in an action comedy and I repeat: THE ROCK and KEVIN HART come together in an ACTION COMEDY!!
  5. KEANU: Because Key and Peele make their big screen debut so how are you not jumping with joy already?
  6. CONNER4REAL: Because The Lonely Island are writing and starring in this movie and there is no information about it except the certainty that it will be hilarious.
  7. RIDE ALONG 2: Because I loved part one and Kevin Hart and Ice Cube is the best buddy cop duo since Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon.
  8. KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES: Because Greg Mottola of Superbad fame directs a spy comedy starring Jon Hamm, Zach Galifianakis and Wonder Woman Gal Gadot!
  9. BAD MOMS: Because the guys who wrote The Hangover are making their debut movie and it stars Mila Kunis and Christina Applegate and Kristen Bell as bad moms so this could just be mean girls but with women.
  10. NEIGHBORS 2: Because even though Bad Santa 2 is also releasing this year and I’m personally looking forward to that more, Seth Rogen needs representation in a list like this and so he will get it!


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD DRAMEDIES/ROMCOMS/INDIES

  1. HAIL, CEASOR: Because this is the final part of the ‘Numbskull’ trilogy feat. George Clooney by the Coen Brothers and to top that, it has Scarlett Johannson, Channing Tatum, Josh Brolin and Jonah Hill too!
  2. ME BEFORE YOU: Because my favourite screenwriters of this generation, Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter and writing this romantic drama and I have no doubt it will turn out amazing.
  3. GOING IN STYLE: Because Zach Braff directs a bank heist comedy featuring Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin!
  4. EDDIE THE EAGLE: Because Dexter Fletcher is an underrated gem of a Brit director (check out Wild Bill if you haven’t) and this may just be the feel good film of the year.
  5. WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT: Because Tina Fey is producing this war comedy that she is also starring in, plus it’s got Martin Freeman and Margot Robbie and Billy Bob Thornton!
  6. THE BRONZE: Because this raunchy sex comedy got tremendous reviews at Sundance last year and is the directorial debut of The Big Bang Theory’s Bernadette (Melissa Rausch)
  7. BRIDGET JONES’ BABY: Because Renee Zewelleger and Colin Firth are back again and let’s admit it, this is going to be a trip down good ol’ memory lane.
  8. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2: Because Nia Vardalos and John Corbett are back again and let’s admit it, this is going to be a trip down good ol’ memory lane.
  9. TUMBLEDOWN: Because Jason Sudeikis has proved with his recent choices that he’s a capable leading man and this film has a lovely logline about love and death, and also stars the lovely Rebecca Hall.
  10. MASTERMINDS: Because though this film has been going through release hell, it’s got a crazy cast in Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig so can’t wait!


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD ANIMATED FILMS

  1. FINDING DORY: Because Finding Nemo.
  2. THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE: Because Angry Birds Movie!
  3. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS: Because great teaser.
  4. SAUSAGE PARTY: Because first animated film by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg!
  5. STORKS: Because voices by Key and Peele and Andy Samberg and Kelsey Grammar.
  6. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS: Because what animation movie has the cast of Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes and George Takei!
  7. TROLLS: Because Anna Kendrick leads this and Anna Kendrick is the best.
  8. SING: Because it’s a music animated comedy featuring Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johannson and Reese Witherspoon (what!).
  9. MOANA: Because THE ROCK makes his animated debut.
  10. PETE’S DRAGON: Because it’s the remake of a much loved animated classic.


#ICYMI:

THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/Z796RR
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c

 

Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,
on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’ve left out some films? Think my list is shit? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: This piece first appeared in Huffington Post on January 14, 2016
Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/nikhil-taneja-/the-100-most-awaited-movies-of-2016/

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

THE ORIGIN OF BOLLYWOOD SOUTH PARK #THEJUICE

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) in November 2014 for The Juice.
Like all things, Bollywood South Park started quite arbitrarily. Sagar Taneja used to work in a digital media company in Mumbai and was handling the digital strategy of Shahrukh Khan’s Don 2. When asked to come up with a “different” idea to promote the film, he thought for a day and then went on to create a South Park avatar of SRK’s character! “I’m a huge fan of South Park,” says Sagar. “My inspiration was avatars of famous celebrities like Russell Crowe, Sylvester Stallone and Tom Cruise that have featured in South Park episodes, because I found them so brilliant.”

The SRK avatar was received well by the movie’s fans and Excel Entertainment. Some of the staff of Excel even changed their profile picture to the avatar.  That’s when Sagar knew that he may have something special.

It wasn’t until Dhoom 3 released that Sagar tried this again; and the reason was quite similar to why he made the first one. “I’m also a big fan of Aamir Khan!” he chuckles. “I realised that I really enjoy doing this, so I made avatars for Aamir’s characters in Fanaa and Rang De Basanti too. Since the response from friends was so great, I started making avatars of iconic characters from cult Bollywood films, like Crime Master Gogo from Andaz Apna Apna and Gabbar Singh from Sholay.

Sagar makes avatars of movies where the characters have an interesting look; it’s his way of paying tribute to distinct looks or iconic characters of Bollywood. It typically takes Sagar a day’s work to make the perfect avatar, because, he says, “I need to get all the smallest details right too.

“My approach to the avatars is that I don’t want them to be just cartoonish verions of the characters. I try to make the avatars as close to the characters as possible, else they’d just be another cartoon and that really wouldn’t be cool.”

For example, in the Khalnayak avatar, Sagar ensured that he got Sanjay Dutt’s blazer perfect. It had stripes on the left and checks on the right, polka dots on the tie and there was a heart on the collar.

Sagar’s only just started taking his hobby seriously by starting a Facebook page for the avatars. With over 500 likes in a week already, Bollywood South Park has begun to flirt with virality. The next step? If there is enough demand, possibly do a couple of short animated videos of the same, every once a while, because “that would be the best tribute to Trey Parker and Matt Stone possible”

Check out all of Sagar’s Bollywood South Park avatars on www.facebook.com/BollywoodSouthPark and www.twitter.com/_sagart and www.instagram.com/BollywoodSouthPark

 

Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:

@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,
on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the piece? Think there are more great shows that I’ve not covered? Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the November 2014 issue.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

SISTERHOOD OF THE ANGRY YOUNG WOMEN #ANGRYINDIANGODDESSES #OPENMAGAZINE #PROFILE

Finally a ‘female buddy’ film that explores what it means to be a contemporary Indian woman. The cast and crew on the journey…


Note:
This profile was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) for Open Magazine. An edited version of the profile can be found here: http://goo.gl/INiyWG


There were 399 films from 79 countries screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the 40th edition of one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals.  473,000 film fans attended the festival over 11 days of the festival, including 5,400 industry delegates from 80 countries.

For the 38th year, a majority of the half a million attendees voted for their favourite film as part of ‘Grolsch People’s Choice Awards’ that has often been an Academy Awards predictor, with past winners including Slumdog Millionaire, The Silver Linings Playbook and 12 Years a Slave. Among this year’s favourites were big-ticket names like Ridley Scott’s The Martian (starring Matt Damon), Scott Cooper’s Black Mass (starring Johnny Depp), Brian Helgeland’s Legends (starring Tom Hardy) and Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl (starring Eddie Redmayne).

While the top prize went to Lenny Abrahamson’s emotional thriller aiggRoom, a little Indian film beat all the aforementioned names, and hundreds of other star-studded films to win the first runner’s up prize. The journey of Angry Indian Goddesses, director Pan Nalin’s third fictional narrative and his ninth feature film in all, featuring an eclectic cast of Anushka Manchanda, Amrit Maghera, Sarah Jane Dias, Sandhya Mridul Singh, Pavleen Gujral, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Rajshree Deshpande, was just getting started.

It’s been over a month since the prize, and the film, being called ‘India’s first female buddy film’ has now travelled to the Atlantic Film Festival, the Zurich Film Festival and the Rome Film Festival, been sold to distributors all over Europe, South America and even the Middle East, and is drumming up all sorts of noise for its India premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival in October-end, and a likely Diwali release, alongside Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, starring Salman Khan.

A FILM ON FEMALE BUDDIES
“Seems like a good decision to go with Salman bhai,” laughs Nalin, as he’s fondly called, with his signature top hat firmly in place, “He is back, but our marketing is that we aren’t back; we were always there. The Goddesses are omnipresent, you just never saw us.”

It is quite something that an industry that produces over 1500 feature films each year in various languages hasn’t yet been able to give us a memorable film – or any film perhaps – about female ‘buddies’. It took Nalin, who is based out of Paris and Mumbai and shuttles between the two for work, a couple of years just to get the film financed. “When I wrote the first treatment of the film, producers asked me, ‘Who will watch this film?’ They said that the audiences are not ready… ek ladka daal do (put a boy in it). When Kahaani worked and I went to them again, they said, ‘That’s a fluke’ or again, ‘get 4-5 stars and maybe then it will work’. But I believed the Indian audiences are ready for good content, and with every rejection, my belief became stronger.”

It was perhaps an idea whose time has come. In the current climate, where films about kickass women protagonists are doing wonders at the box office (This year alone, Kangana Ranaut’s Tanu Weds Manu, Anushka Sharma’s NH10, Deepika Padukone’s Piku, were all hits), it was inevitably time for a ‘female Dil Chahta Hai’, as the film is being called by critics.

“It started with a coffee shop where a bunch of young, urban girls were chatting,” Nalin, best known for his award-winning film Samsara (2001), a runaway hit internationally, and his critically acclaimed documentary, Faith Connections (2013), among others, recalls. “I told my associate director, Dilip Shankar, to observe them; there was something in their body language, and their friendship, that wasn’t ever explored in films. For some reason, we’ve always represented women in the rural sides or women suffering. But I wanted to be friends with these girls!”

A REGRESSIVE CULTURE
As much as the idea of a film about female bonding excited him, at first, Nalin wasn’t completely certain that he would be the right person to direct the film, because “he’s a man”. But his background egged him to give a shot. Having grown up in the Gujarat countryside, Nalin was privy to the treatment meted out to women in small town India. When his parents, who couldn’t read or write, decided they wanted a better future for their children, and sent their daughter, Nalin’s elder sister, to study in Ahmedabad, they were faced with violent opposite by the town and were the subject of much derision.

“I remember my mother would come back from the temple crying because someone gave a taunt that your daughter must be a prostitute in the city, else how could she be surviving with no money? My parents had brought us up as deeply spiritual individuals, so seeing the inequality, I always felt the need for creating strong woman characters in my films. And when I was a bit unsure of directing an all-women cast and started looking out for a female director, I found out that even they were directing men! So that was that.”

But it wasn’t all that easy for Nalin and Shankar to pull this off on their own. Besides the fact that the film needed to be authentic to the point of view of young, feisty urban women, the duo, who started observing women closely wherever they went, were often midunderstood as letchers. “One time in Kolkata, I almost got beat up too,” Nalin laughs. It was then that they brought on board two women writers, Subhadra Mahajan and Arsala Qureishi, to research in the media about Indian women, with a single focus: to find out positive stories of women of India succeeding.

The stories they dug up helped Nalin’s team give an overarching structure, but they decided to keep the screenplay loose, since they wanted to build the story organically. Their starting point were the auditions, where 200 girls from all over India were tested, but in a unique manner. Girls were called to the casting office, where Nalin and Shankar spoke to them, for up to an hour each. The questions varied from ‘How was your childhood’ to minute details of how they were treated by their families. There were two big learnings for Nalin in this process.

CASTING THE ANGRY GODDESSES
One was the phenomenon of the ladies loo. “Have you ever cried in the gents toilet?” Nalin asks rhetorically. “Probably none of us have.  But we once met a girl who told us that she worked in a big call center in Malad with 900 other girls, and that she could guarantee that each one of those girls had cried in the toilet at one time or the other. They would cry about problems at home, sexual harassment, unsupportive spouses, or anything else. When we did our first test screening through a top ad agency in Mumbai, I asked the girls in the test audiences if they cried in the loo too. Slowly, all hands went up.”

pan nalinThe other thing that struck Nalin and his team was the unconscious inequality that was being created at each girl’s home through another woman: the mother. “We may have the illusion of a patriarchal society but the mother is very powerful,” says Nalin.

“A mother may not mean it, but when you scratch the surface, a secondary treatment towards women is visible. For example, a hot chapati at home would go to the son instead of the daughter. If it’s hot and the mother has only one cup, she will give it to the son and not the daughter. Somewhere, I felt that this is ingrained deeply in the psyche of mothers in India, and if they made a change, we would have no issues in 50 years from now. So I decided to incorporate both these behaviors, and several other things I learnt from the audition process into the film to keep the story real.”

“What I gathered was that they were not looking for actors, but for people who had the courage to expose themselves and be real, explains Mridul Singh, the senior-most actor among the ‘godesses’, who runs a casting company herself and was among the first to be cast.  “They wanted women who had the courage to reveal the truth, be themselves and have some sort of a fire in their bellies to fight. I had been long disillusioned by this industry because the brief was either that of a vamp or ‘two kissing scenes and six songs.’ I felt vanquished when this film came along. “

ORGANIC FILMMAKING
Even the way Nalin approached the characters was “organic”, once he had chosen a group of goddesses he called “magical”. “So we did four weeks of intensive workshops with these girls, but not for acting,” says Nalin. “We had sessions of yoga, meditation and the inner journey, where we asked the girls to think, feel and liberate themselves. In these weeks, the girls must have cried at least 50 times. They probably couldn’t believe they had come for a film and not to see a shrink.”

“I have always kept acting separate from the person, so if I’m howling in a scene, I’ll be laughing the moment there’s a cut,” elaborates Singh. “But in this film, I couldn’t do that. If I was crying in a scene, I continued to cry, until I vomited outside, lit a cigarette and then came back. It was an emotional rollercoaster. We cried a lot, laughed a lot, and went through a lot, but invariably, we had each other. Most of us didn’t know each other, but one week into it, there were no egos but open, glaring insecurities, vulnerabilities and joy.”

“The atmosphere on the set was one of trust,” says musician and rocker Anushka Manchanda, who is making her debut with the movie. “We were hanging out on the set, wearing what we wanted to wear, smoking, talking, abusing, discussing about sex and orgasms at lunch. There was no need to censor ourselves. I was like, ‘acting is so enjoyable, yaar!’ and the other actresses would scream saying ‘this doesn’t ever happen’!”

Nalin and Shankar created this safe environment for the girls to push them even further, by asking them to create their characters themselves and giving them activities like talking like their character, sitting like them, eating like them, and even collectively going out in the evening for dinner as their characters.

A THERAPEAUTIC PROCESS
“They made us draw the route from our houses to our schools and what we see on the way as our characters,” says Manchanda. “We were asked to write a letter to our fathers when we were 16. When we gave our first shot, we had a ready background as those people and a shared history too.”

“I couldn’t sleep for three days trying to write that letter,” adds anushka sandhyaSingh. “My father had passed away when I was 15 and I had blocked those memories. So when I had to write a letter to my father a year after, I somehow did it, and then called my mother and howled on the phone. Reliving our childhood memories brought out the truth in us, and that was the point. It was a cathartic experience for us. Gaurav Dhingra, our producer, would joke that the biggest production expense on the shoot was Nutella and peanut butter sandwhiches, and tissues. The girls would cry, use the tissues and then eat those sandwiches. It became a routine, but we were all one at the end of it.”

Nalin, whose past work is characterized and admired for its deeply spiritual themes and ideas, led the entire exercise to create a ‘spiritual bond’ between the “goddesses.” Why Goddesses? Because “women are attractive and sexy, from the anglo definition, and they are ‘devis’, from the Indian one,” explains Nalin. “But what I like most about the word is the connection of Goddess to Kali and Rudrani, the goddesses who would take a ferocious form to create a new world order whenever they would get angry. The goddesses in this movie are angry because of Nirbhaya, sexual harassment, corruption, bad partners, and more, but this anger is fueling change. And this film’s spiritual depth is rooted in that change.”

A UNIVERSAL ISSUE
Actor Tannishtha Chatterjee, who has an extended special appearance in the film as one of the goddesses, puts things into perspective: “On one hand, we call women goddesses, and on the other hand, they are raped, abused, and stripped of dignity, just like everything else we call ‘mother’, like the environment or several animals. Our anger is against this system. This is the first generation of India where every woman is aspiring for a career outside of being a mother and a sister, or fulfilling our professional and personal desires. We are free and liberated, and ready to explode if we are subjugated.”

And this is evidently a feeling that has resonated with audiences worldwide, as the film continues to roll its punches with standing ovations in all screenings. At TIFF, where initially, the AIG team was supposed to do only 8-10 interviews, the cast and crew ended up doing over a 100 interviews in a week, even as the goddesses were stopped on the streets for selfies “with their tongues out, just like Goddess Kali,” says Tannishtha.

And this is not limited to the Indian diaspora, in fact, most of the people who voted for the film and came for the multiple screenings were not Indians. “Greeks told me that this is a Greek film, the Brazil distributor told me that I’ve made a film on Brazilian women, one American girl came and thanked me for giving her a voice,” smiles Nalin. “We didn’t expect the response to be so universal. In fact, men are loving the film too! One man told me that the women in the film reminded me of his mother and wife at various times. I’ve not strived to make a film about issues but a film where, if you are entertained, then you may just get inspired too.”

“I think Nalin has cracked the code,” Singh says. “Women don’t want solutions, they just need to be heart. And this film gives them a voice. This is no man hating film, in fact we are sure men will love it.” “I really believe that men would come from this film thinking, ‘Wow, I learnt so much about women today,” grins Manchanda. “And women will come out of theaters saying, ‘F**k yeah!”


Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,

on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the profile? Leave your comments below!
Note: This interview first appeared in Open Magazine on October 23, 2015
Link: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/art-culture/sisterhood-of-the-angry-young-women
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

THE 2016 POP CULTURE CALENDAR: WHAT TO WATCH & WHEN

#ICYMI:
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC

THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/Z796RR

For your sake and mine, here’s the ultimate pop culture calendar of long-form fiction watching including Indian films as well as Hollywood films and TV shows. I’ll keep updating this through the year, as and when new release dates get announced. Bookmark this, this could well be the handy guide of what to watch, when, and where.

Key:
MOVIES are in Red
THINGS I RECOMMEND are in Bold


JANUARY

Jan 1 – Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (BBC)

Jan 3 – Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life (FOX)
Jan 3 – Downton Abbey (PBS)
Jan 4 – Superstore (NBC)
Jan 4 – Telenovela (NBC)
Jan 5 – New Girl (NBC)
Jan 5 – Grandfathered (FOX)
Jan 5 – Brooklyn Nine Nine (FOX)
Jan 5 – The Grinder (FOX)
Jan 6 – American Crime (ABC)
Jan 8 – The Forest
Jan 8 – Wazir
Jan 8 – Chauranga
Jan 10 – 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards
Jan 10 – Shameless (SHOWTIME)
Jan 12 – iZombie (CW)
Jan 13 – Second Chance (FOX)
Jan 14 – Colony (USA)
Jan 14 – Workaholics (COMEDY CENTRAL)
Jan 14 – Idiotsitter (COMEDY CENTRAL)
Jan 14 – Shades of Blue (NBC)
Jan 15 – The Hateful Eight
Jan 15 – Ride Along 2
Jan 15 – 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Jan 16 – Sesame Street (HBO)
Jan 17 – Billions (SHOWTIME)
Jan 17 – Mercy Street (PBS)
Jan 18 – War and Peace (BBC)
Jan 19 – Agent Carter (ABC)
Jan 19 – The Flash (ABC)
Jan 20 – Arrow (CW)
Jan 21 – Baskets (FX)
Jan 21 – Legends of Tomorrow (CW)
Jan 21 – London Spy (BBC)
Jan 22 – Dirty Grandpa
Jan 22 – Airlift
Jan 22 – The 5th Wave
Jan 22 – Jugni
Jan 22 – Mad Dogs (AMAZON)
Jan 23 – Beowulf (ITV)
Jan 23 – Black Sails (STARZ)
Jan 24 – The X Files (FOX)
Jan 25 – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)
Jan 25 – Lucifer (FOX)
Jan 25 – Jane The Virgin (CW)
Jan 25 – The Magicians (SYFY)
Jan 26 – The Outsiders (WGN)
Jan 27 – Suits (USA)
Jan 28 – You, Me And The Apocalypse (NBC)
Jan 29 – Kung Fu Panda 3
Jan 29 – The Revanent
Jan 29 – Saala Khadoos
Jan 29 – Jane Got a Gun
Jan 29 – The Finest Hours
Jan 29 – The Originals (CW)
Jan 29 – The Vampire Diaries (CW)


FEBRUARY
Feb 2 – American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson (FX)
Feb 2 – Fresh Off The Boat (ABC)
Feb 2 – The Muppets (ABC)
Feb 3 – Madoff (ABC)
Feb 5 – Hail, Caesar!
Feb 5 – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Feb 5 – Dad’s Army

Feb 5 – The Choice
Feb 5 – Regression
Feb 5 – Misconduct
Feb 5 – Ghayal Once Again
Feb 5 – Vice (HBO)
Feb 5 – Animals (HBO)
Feb 5 – Sleepy Hollow (FOX)
Feb 9 – Vinyl (HBO)
Feb 9 – The Walking Dead (AMC)
Feb 20 – Love (NETFLIX)
Feb 11 – Scandal (ABC)
Feb 11 – Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
Feb 11 – How To Get Away with Murder (ABC)
Feb 12 – Deadpool
Feb 12 – Zoolander 2
Feb 12 – Tumbledown
Feb 12 – How To Be Single
Feb 12 – Fitoor
Feb 12 – Sanam Re
Feb 14 – Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
Feb 15 – Better Call Saul (AMC)
Feb 15 – 11/22/63 (HULU)
Feb 16 – The New Yorker Presents (AMAZON)

Feb 17 – Broad City (COMEDY CENTRAL)
Feb 18 – Vikings (HISTORY)
Feb 19 – The Witch
Feb 19 – Race
Feb 19 – Viral
Feb 19 – Risen
Feb 19 – Neerja
Feb 19 – Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive
Feb 21 – Girls (HBO)
Feb 21 – Togetherness (HBO)
Feb 25 – Prey (BBC)
Feb 26 – Aligarh
Feb 26 – Triple 9
Feb 26 – Eddie the Eagle
Feb 26 – Gods of Egypt
Feb 26 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (NETFLIX)
Feb 26 – Fuller House (NETFLIX)
Feb 28 – 88TH Annual Academy Awards
Feb 29 – Gotham (FOX)
Feb 29 – Blindspot (FOX)


MARCH
Mar 2 – Hap and Leonard (SUNDANCE)
Mar 4 – Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Mar 4 – Me Before You
Mar 4 – Zootopia
Mar 4 – London Has Fallen
Mar 4 – Knight of Cups
Mar 4 – Jai Gangaajal
Mar 4 – Zubaan
Mar 4 – Do Lafzon Ki Kahani
Mar 4 – House of Cards (NETFLIX)
Mar 6 – The Family (ABC)
Mar 6 – Quantico (ABC)
Mar 6 – The Last Man on Earth (FOX)
Mar 7 – Bates Motel (A&E)
Mar 7 – Damien (A&E)
Mar 8 – Fresh Off The Boat (ABC)
Mar 8 – Agents of SHIELD (ABC)
Mar 8 – Of Kings & Prophets (ABC)
Mar 9 – Underground (WGN)
Mar 11 – 10 Cloverfield Lane
Mar 11 – The Lobster

Mar 11 – Anomalisa
Mar 11 – The Brothers Grimsby
Mar 11 – The Other Side of the Door
Mar 11 – Flaked (NETFLIX)
Mar 11 – Bosch (AMAZON)
Mar 16 – The Americans (FX)
Mar 18 – Kapoor & Sons
Mar 18 – High Rise

Mar 18 – Midnight Special
Mar 18 – The Bronze
Mar 18 – The Little Prince
Mar 18 – Allegian: The Divergent Series
Mar 18 – Miracles from Heaven
Mar 18 – Daredevil (NETFLIX)
Mar 20 – Elementary (CBS)
Mar 24 – The Catch (ABC)
Mar 25 – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Mar 25 – My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
Mar 25 – The Disappointments Room
Mar 25 – I Saw The Light
Mar 25 – Rocky Handsome
Mar 25 – Great Grand Masti
Mar 30 – The Path (HULU)
Mar 30 – Empire (FOX)
Mar 31 – Rush Hour (CBS)


APRIL

Apr 1 – Ki and Ka
Apr 1 – Green Room
Apr 1 – Keeping Up With The Joneses
Apr 1 – Rings
Apr 1 – Collide
Apr 1 – The Ranch (NETFLIX)
Apr 1 – Banshee (CINEMAX)
Apr 7 – The Odd Couple (CBS)
Apr 8 – Demolition
Apr 8 – The Boss
Apr 8 – Before I Wake
Apr 10 – The Girlfriend Experience (STARZ)
Apr 10 – Fear The Walking Dead (AMC)
Apr 10 – House of Lies (SHOWTIME)
Apr 13 – The Last Panthers (SUNDANCE)
Apr 15 – Fan
Apr 15 – Everybody Wants Some
Apr 15 – The Jungle Book
Apr 15 – Elvis & Nixon
Apr 15 – Criminal
Apr 15 – Amityville: The Awakening
Apr 15 – The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX)
Apr 19 – The Night Manager (AMC)
Apr 22 – Keanu
Apr 22 – The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Apr 22 – A Tale of Tales
Apr 24 – Game of Thrones (HBO)
Apr 24 – Silicon Valley (HBO)
Apr 24 – Veep (HBO)
Apr 24 – Rebellion (Sundance)
Apr 25 -Turn (AMC)
Apr 29 – Mother’s Day
Apr 29 – Nine Lives
Apr 29 – Same Kind of Different As Me
Apr 29 – Baaghi: A Rebel For Love
Apr 29 – Special Correspondents (NETFLIX)


MAY
May 1 – Penny Dreadful (SHOWTIME)
May 5 – Marseilles (NETFLIX)
May 6 – Captain America: Civil War
May 6 – Going in Style
May 6 – Grace and Frankie (NETFLIX)
May 13 – Mirzya
May 13 – Snowden

May 13 – Money Monster
May 13 – The Free State of Jones
May 13 – Kidnap
May 13 – Last Days in the Desert
May 13 – Azhar
May 20 – The Nice Guys
May 20 – The Angry Birds Movie
May 20 – Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
May 20 – Maggie’s Plan
May 20 – Sarabjit
May 27 – X Men: Apocalypse
May 27 – Alice Through the Looking Glass


JUNE

Jun 3 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Jun 3 – Conner4Real
Jun 3 – Jagga Jasoos
Jun 3 – Raaz Rebooted
Jun 3 – Housefull 3
Jun 3 – Outcast (CINEMAX)
Jun 10 – Warcraft
Jun 10 – Now You See Me 2
Jun 10 – The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist
Jun 14 – Orange is the New Black (NETFLIX)
Jun 17 – Udta Punjab
Jun 17 – Central Intelligence
Jun 17 – Finding Dory

Jun 17 – Shut In
Jun 24 – Independence Day: Resurgence
Jun 24 – The Shallows


JULY

Jul 1 – The BFG
Jul 1- The Legend of Tarzan
Jul 1 – The Purge 3
Jul 4 – Bastille Day
Jul 8 – Sultan
Jul 8 – Raees
Jul 8 – The Secret Life of Pets
Jul 8 – Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Jul 15 – Ghostbusters
Jul 15 – La La Land
Jul 15 – The Lake
Jul 15 – Stranger Things (NETFLIX)
Jul 22 – Star Trek Beyond
Jul 22 – Ice Age: Collision Course
Jul 22 – Lights Out
Jul 29 – Bourne 5
Jul 29 – Genius
Jul 29 – The Space Between Us
Jul 29 – Dhishoom


AUGUST

Aug 5 – Suicide Squad
Aug 12 – Mohenjodaro
Aug 12 – Rustom
Aug 12 – Ben-Hur
Aug 12 – Sausage Party
Aug 12 – Pete’s Dragon
Aug 12 – The Shack
Aug 12 – The Get Down (NETFLIX)
Aug 19 – Arms and The Dudes
Aug 19 – Kubo and The Two Strings
Aug 19 – Life on the Road
Aug 19 – Bad Moms
Aug 19 – Project XX
Aug 25 – The Flying Jatt
Aug 26 – Mechanic: Resurrection
Aug 31 – The Infiltrator


SEPTEMBER

Sep 2 – Dhoni: The Untold Story
Sep 2 – Patient Zero
Sep 2 – Solace
Sep 9 – Sully
Sep 9 – Baar Baar Dekho
Sep 16 – Bridget Jones’ Baby
Sep 23 – The Magnificent Seven
Sep 23 – Storks
Sep 23 – A Cure For Wellness
Sep 30 – Deepwater Horizon
Sep 30 – Masterminds
Sep 30 – Besties
Sep 30 – Delirium


OCTOBER
Oct 7 – Gambit 

Oct 7 – The Girl on the Train
Oct 7 – The Accountant
Oct 7 – Half Girlfriend
Oct 14 – A Monster Calls
Oct 14 – Inferno
Oct 14 – Underworld: Next Generation
Oct 21 – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Oct 28 – Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Oct 28 – Shivaay
Oct 31 – Shuddhi


NOVEMBER

Nov 4 – Doctor Strange
Nov 4 – Bastards
Nov 4 – Trolls
Nov 11 – Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Nov 11 – Rock On!! 2
Nov 11 – Why Him?
Nov 18 – Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them
Nov 23 – The Great Wall
Nov 23 – Bad Santa 2
Nov 23 – Moana
Nov 25 – The Founder


DECEMBER

Dec 9 – Let It Snow
Dec 16 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Dec 16 – Chicken Soup for The Soul
Dec 23 – Dangal
Dec 23 – Assassin’s Creed
Dec 23 – Passengers
Dec 23 – Sing
Dec 25 – Jumanji
Dec 25 – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children


#ICYMI:
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC

THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/Z796RR


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